Skip to main content

Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

See other formats

4.6                             BYZANTINE CHURCHES                         CHAP.
letter sent by the Archbishop of Achrida, in 10535 to the Bishop of Tranis condemning the Church of Rome for the use of unleavened bread in the administration of the Holy Communion^ and for allowing a fast on Saturday. Nicetas Stethetos (Pectoratus), a member of the House renowned for his asceticism, and for his courage in reproving the scandalous connection of Constantino IX. with Sklerena5' wrote a pamphlet, in Latin, in which, in addition to the charges against Rome made by the Archbishop of Achrida, the enforced celibacy of the clergy was denounced. The pamphlet was widely circulated by the Patriarch Kerularios3 who wished to bring the dispute between the Churches to an issue. But the emperor not being prepared to go so far, invited the Pope to send three legates to Constantinople to settle the differences which disturbed the Christian world. Cardinal Humbert, one of the legates, replied to Nicetas in the most violent language of theological controversy, and to bring matters to a conclusion an assembly, which was attended by the Emperor Constantino, his court, and the Papal legates, met at the Studion on the 24th of June 1054. A Greek translation of the pamphlet composed by Nicetas was then read, and after the discussion of the subject, Nicetas retracted his charges and condemned all opponents of the Roman Church. His pamphlet was, moreover, thrown into the fire by the emperor's orders, and on the following day he called upon the Papal legates, who were lodged at the palace of the Peg6 (Baloukli), and was received into the communion of the Church he had lately denounced. But the patriarch was not so fickle or pliant. He would not yield an iota, and on the i5th of July 1054 Cardinal Humbert laid on the altar of S. Sophia the bull of excommunication against Kerularios and all his followers, which has kept Western and Eastern Christendom divided to this day.
When Michael VII. (1067-78) saw that the tide of popular feeling had turned against him in favour of Nice-phorus Botoniates, he meekly retired to this House, declining to purchase a crown with cruelty by calling upon the Varangian guards to defend his throne with their battle-